One, Inc. v. Olesen

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One, Inc. v. Olesen
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Decided January 13, 1958
Full case name One, Incorporated, v. Otto K. Olesen, Postmaster of the City of Los Angeles
Citations 355 U.S. 371 (more)
241 F.2d 772 (9th Cir. 1957)
Prior history Appeal from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Pro-homosexual writing is not per se obscene.
Court membership
Case opinions
Per curiam.

One, Inc. v. Olesen 355 U.S. 371 (January 13, 1958) is a landmark United States Supreme Court decision for LGBT rights in the United States. ONE, Inc., a spinoff of the Mattachine Society, published the early pro-gay "ONE: The Homosexual Magazine" beginning in 1953. After a campaign of harassment from the U.S. Post Office Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Postmaster of Los Angeles declared the October, 1954 issue obscene therefore unmailable under the Comstock laws.[1]

The magazine sued. The first court decision (March 1956) sided with the post office, as did the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (February 1957). To the surprise of all concerned, an appeal to the Supreme Court was not only accepted, but citing its recent landmark decision in Roth v. United States 354 U.S. 476 (1957) the Court, in a terse per curiam decision, reversed the Ninth Circuit without holding oral arguments.[1] The decision read in its entirety:

241 F.2d 772, reversed.
Eric Julber for petitioner.
Solicitor General Rankin, Acting Assistant Attorney General Leonard and Samuel D. Slade for respondent.
The petition for writ of certiorari is granted and the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is reversed. Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476. [355 U.S. 371, 372]"[2]

This marked the first time the Supreme Court had explicitly ruled on free press rights with respect to homosexuality. The justices supporting reversal were Frankfurter, Douglas, Clark, Harlan, and Whittaker.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Murdoch, Joyce; Price, Deb (8 May 2002). "ONE Standard of Justice". Courting justice: gay men and lesbians v. the Supreme Court. Basic Books. pp. 27–50. ISBN 978-0-465-01514-6. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  2. ^ "ONE, inc. v. Oleson 355 U.S. 371 (1958)". 

Further reading[edit]